Neeson. Revenge. Being more virtuous.

movie,gun,pointed gun

This has been clanking around upstairs for weeks. “Taken” is a story of an ex-CIA agent whose daughter is kidnapped by an Albanian gang engaged in human trafficking. They drug, prostitute and auction off young women. I dismiss the probabilities of the predicable storyline. I cheer him on through the mayhem and destruction right to the Disney finish. His daughter is saved!

I watched the movie in the attic. A dark room dripping with evil. I finished watching the movie and headed outside, I needed to get to the Sun.

I have a daughter.
It’s just a movie.
This evil actually exists.
It’s just entertainment.
Getting the bad guys felt so good.

Then why do you feel so dark now?
And why do you watch these things?

I came across this op-ed essay by Arthur C. Brooks titled The Trick to Being More Virtuous and asked myself:

  1. Demand outstrips supply for this “poison.” Am I further poisoning the well with my spend and my attention?
  2. What does my next “click” say about my desires?
  3. Will the next movie or book or article that I read, “elevate” me?
  4. Like that third donut, can I pass it by and “seek personal moral improvement?”

Here’s a few excerpts from Brooks’ essay:

[Read more…]

Black Friday Shopping Weekend or…

shopping,holidays,Thanksgiving,Christmas


Source: Japanese Piggy Bank via themetapicture.com


SMWI*: Right.

black and white,photography

Elbows hurt just looking…


Notes:

  • SMWI*: Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration
  • Source: Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom

5:00 p.m. Bell: Fly (Home)

swallow-gif-fly


Source: Find “Swallow” and other treasures at Eclecticity

Thanksgiving


Eric Lewis, 41, who is better known by his stage name ELEW, is an American jazz pianist who has found crossover success playing rock and pop music. He was born in Camden, NJ. He is known for his unconventional and physical playing style, which eschews a piano bench and includes reaching inside the piano lid to pull at the strings directly, as well as the creation that he calls Rockjazz, a genre that “takes the improvisational aspect of jazz and ‘threads it through the eye of the needle of rock.'”

Lewis began his career as a jazz purist, playing as a sideman for jazz luminaries like Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Elvin Jones, Jon Hendricks, and Roy Hargrove as well as performing as a member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. However, he eventually became interested in rock music and embarked on a solo career as a crossover musician, quickly gaining recognition for his instrumental “Rockjazz” piano covers of mainstream rock hits like The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It, Black” and The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside”.

He released his albums of instrumental covers which can be found on iTunes here: ELEW Rockjazz Vol. 1 (2010, including “Sweet Home Alabama”) and ELEW Rockjazz Vol. 2 (2012, including this tune “Thanksgiving“)

T.G.I.F.: Day After Thanksgiving

baby-hippo-gif-hippopotamus


Source: Your Eyes Blaze Out

Human. Roll it.

cool-gif-changing-faces-water


Source: themetapicture (Thank you Susan)

 

Happy Thanksgiving

heart-gif

The email message arrived a few days ago. The sender and the location were all unidentifiable. Yet, the message was deeply personal. I read it in the silence of the early morning hours, both hands resting on top of the desk, my breath slowing as my eyes worked down the page.

“I’ve been following your blog since early 2013.  After a series of your “life is a miracle” shares, I felt I needed to reach out. While our core beings are quite similar in that our hearts’ beat, our body temperatures hover in comparable ranges, and our bodies crave food and water, many of us depart from here in our day-to-day existences…

If I’m sitting and looking out from your perch, I would enjoy the view. Married, family, job.  Fridge full of food. A warm house for shelter. Good health. A community of Followers and bloggers to banter with and share inspirations…

Kierkegaard would say that the yardstick for a human being is how long and to what degree he can bear to be alone. I continue to be tested by this yardstick. I’m quite alone. My effectiveness in bearing it? Let’s say it’s day-to-day, and I’m doing so without the benefit of your accoutrements. Yet, I find my peace, and I accept my position in this Life…swallowing hard on my down days.

Look around. I mean really look around and take stock of your life. All of this can change. It can change at any moment. And it can turn very badly. It did for me… Be grateful Now for your blessings as you have many.

[NO CLOSING SIGNATURE OR SALUATION]

Friend, if I can take the liberty of calling you that, you’ve left me Still and without many words, and I’m thankful for your message. Where ever you are and who ever you may be, on this Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., may you find nourishment, may you have shelter and warmth, and may you be surrounded by the love of family and friends.


Photograph Source: Murrskeez

 

Books


Unfortunately, I didn’t understand a word* that was spoken on this short clip, but loved it anyway. The writer and producer of this film, Lou Salloum, explains that this film is a reflective narrative inspired by Matthew 6:6. This short film reminded me of a quote by Richard Powers on Reading in an interview by The Paris Review:

It’s an invisible, sedate, almost inert process. Reading is the last act of secular prayer. Even if you’re reading in an airport, you’re making a womb unto yourself—you’re blocking the end results of information and communication long enough to be in a kind of stationary, meditative aspect.


* Updated on Thanksgiving Day Nov 27, 2014. Lou Salloum was kind enough to offer an English translation.

Think of the things you are thinking about because you are more than just your thoughts. Life is weird, especially when you’re present in someone else’s imagination, thinking it’s the only place one ought to be alive. Find a place, create this place, where you can find yourself. A place where you can know who you are and discover what you could become. A place where you can hear the cry of pain in the beauty of this world, and find hope in the agony of this generation. A place, where you reflect and discover your own heart. Away from everything around you, everyone within you. At first, you may find it hard, but when you do take this quiet time alone, away, something magnificent will happen.

Inspired by Matthew 6:6

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Caleb makes a guest appearance on David Letterman on “Jungle” Jack Hanna’s Hump Day. As to the American Bald Eagle, Wow! Inspiring. Full stop.


Note: Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts: Let’s Hit it Again

You don’t believe? Not possible.

sequoia-tree-light-sunrise

We live on a blue planet
that circles around a ball of fire
next to a moon that moves the sea,
and you don’t believe in miracles?

~ bohemian-vibes


Photograph: From the Land of Giants. The early morning air in the Grant Grove of giant sequoias in Kings Canyon National Park on Sequoia Road. Photographer: larrygerbrandt. Thank you Carol @ Radiating Blossom.

They bust you by being grateful for the day

woman-portrait-scar-charcoal-hands-shame

The worst possible thing you can do when you’re down in the dumps, tweaking, vaporous with victimized self-righteousness, or bored, is to take a walk with dying friends. They will ruin everything for you.

First of all, friends like this may not even think of themselves as dying, although they clearly are, according to recent scans and gentle doctors’ reports. But no, they see themselves as fully alive. They are living and doing as much as they can, as well as they can, for as long as they can.

They ruin your multitasking high, the bath of agitation, rumination, and judgment you wallow in, without the decency to come out and just say anything. They bust you by being grateful for the day, while you are obsessed with how thin your lashes have become and how wide your bottom.

~ Anne Lamott, “Prelude: Victory Lap“, Small Victories: Spotting Improbably Moments of Grace


Notes: Quote Source – Brainpickings. Portrait: Kamil Zacharski by Opaqueglitter


 

Work: Pull like water buffalo

black and white,photography

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

~ Marge Piercy, To Be Of Use


Notes:

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call (Ball)

soccer,ball


Source: Gifak

 

avenoir


avenoir – n. the desire that memory could flow backward

We take it for granted that life moves forward. But you move as a rower moves, facing backwards—you can see where you’ve been, but not where you’re going. And your boat is steered by a younger version of you. It’s hard not to wonder what life would be like facing the other way…


Source: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Sunday Morning: Luna


That face. Soul stirring. Heartwarming. Happy ending. Loved it.


Thank you Jane for sharing.

My mouth waters in anticipation of summer peaches

peach

…I’ve noticed about myself recently that I stare out the window and daydream when I’m desperate. The unrelenting beam of information aimed at me via the computer screen too often occupies my eyes. The mind silts up with details, images, pleas for help, advertisements, and thousands of worthy campaigns for social change. “Life shouldn’t be this hard,” I think. Eventually, nothing can float freely in the stream of my consciousness; everything is stuck. After some time staring at my mind-mud, I turn to the window. I watch butterflies and wonder about color variations on peaches…

By mid-afternoon the view outside my window is deep in shade. Pigeons and doves are settled in alongside the owl. The butterflies are absent— perhaps moved on to warmer microclimes. The dark green leaves are still. A rusty bedspring leans against the fence and trash from the alley dumpster is caught in the fence. I give over my intellect, my tired eyes, and some part of my soul to the cool of the afternoon. I rest…

Isn’t this kind of holy daydreaming an essential quality of Sabbath? I learn humility from a tree that flowers, fruits, and multiplies whether I sleep or am awake. I am awed by butterflies that can trace the scent of sweetness without extensive computer-generated data and global positioning satellites. I look out my window through the security bars. My mouth waters in anticipation of summer peaches.

~ Rose Marie Berger

Don’t Miss Full Post here: “Getting Our Gaze Back


Notes:
  • Rose Marie Berger, an associate editor of Sojourners, is a Catholic peace activist and poet. Rose has lived in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C. since the late 1980s. In the course of a 20 plus-year career in faith-based activism, advocacy journalism, and pastoral leadership, she has proven to be a skilled organizer, exceptional writer, visionary pastoral leader, and innovative teacher of biblical literacy. Rose holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree in poetry from the University of Southern Maine (2005) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from the University of California at Davis (1985).
  • Artist (Peach 2) by Mustafa Hulusi via aptglobal

SMWI*: Alternate Universe vs. Reality

dancer,dance,jump,fly

An alternate universe: Beauty. Grace. Health.

An then the unfortunate reality:


funny-monkey-belly-diet


Notes:

  • SMWI* = Saturday Morning Workout Inspiration
  • Ballet Dancer Photo: Ronnie Boehm, A. Ion, Vienna State Opera Ballet School. Thank you Carol at Radiating Blossom
  • Sad Monkey Belly Picture: themetapicture.com

 

Love Paper

photography, fall

From Rob Firchau @ The Hammock Papers: Love Paper

A tree gave its life for what you are about to attempt. Don’t let the silicon chip or computer monitor cause you to forget this. That ex-tree material stacked in your printer is so dead as you begin to write that its bark-skinned, earth-eating, oxygen-producing, bird-supporting, squirrel-housing body has been reduced to an inert blank expanse of white. To find the life of language and lay that life down on the paper is to redeem the sacrificed life of the tree…

David James Duncan

If you write, blog and/or read, DON’T MISS the entire post: Love Paper

Photograph: skubmic titled Autumn Lines


5:00 PM Bell: Let’s Go!

gif-kitten-cat-cute-run


Source: gifak.net

Riding Metro-North. With Pink Galoshes.

train-commute-photography-black-and-white

Monday, November 17, 2014: Rain. 35° F.

The Work Day Monday starts on Sunday. The peaceful easy feeling of Saturday drifts into the grace of Sunday morning, and comes off the mountain in slow motion, the avalanche building momentum until it covers the village at the base of the mountain. It’s 3 pm on Sunday afternoon and my attention shifts to the work that I planned, but failed to get done on Saturday.  There’s my briefcase, bulging with those good intentions from Friday afternoon. (A white-collar Suit but a dues paying member of the proletariat. A plebe, never freeing his rough, calloused hands from the shovel. Need to dig. Never finished. Never complete. Never good enough. And the bell tolls. And the bell tolls.)

I’m reviewing Monday’s calendar. A 7:30 am Breakfast with a colleague. A commitment that was made a month ago. Let’s have breakfast! This will require a 5 a.m. wake up call, a 6 am train, a 7 am arrival at Grand Central and a brisk 15-20 min walk to breakfast. (Why are you pushing the clock? Last time you checked, you were the Boss. Who’s running who? Just cancel and reschedule to a later date. You had a conflict that came up. Who would know?)

I ask Rachel what train she is catching. 7:34 a.m. Father-daughter will ride in together. (I cancel my breakfast meeting. A last minute conflict came up. Unavoidable. My apology covered in a mist of guilt.)

We’re standing on the platform. She has her spot. She knows where the train stops, where the doors open, where she can position herself to get a seat.  She’s in front, and holding her ground.  Other crafty commuters, a herd, all huddle around her. The rain is rapping on the tin roof, and spills over onto the tracks. [Read more…]

Who are you in stressful situations?

MBTI-Meyers-Briggs

We’ve all taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality profiling test. (If you haven’t, check it out here or take a Free Personality Test here: 16 Personalities): The letters stand for:

  1. The first letter is “I” or “E”: “Introversion” or “Extraversion”.
  2. The second letter “S” or “N”: “Sensing” or “Intuition”.
  3. The third letter “T” or “F”: “Thinking” or “Feeling”.
  4. The fourth letter “J” or “P”: “Judging or “Perceiving”.

MBTI has nailed my personality profile and does so again below in how I react in stressful situations:

INFP: diligently ignores problem until it’s too big to manage
ESTJ: ‘exactly as i say, or else’
ISFPlists and lists and lists and lists…
ESFJ: vocalizes everything they’re doing
ISFJ: ♫ move b*tch, get out the way ♫
ENTP: too interested by the options to do anything
ISTJ: cool headed, but harsh like ice
ENFP: heart rate over 9000
INTP: never does anything despite completely understanding the problem
ENTJ: step aside or get crushed underfoot
ISTP: nothing like a full-blown crisis to get back into the zone
ENFJ: assumes responsibility and approaches with logic
INFJ: adrenaline rush or complete paralysis
ESTP: acts first, figures out later
INTJ: devises a universal system to resolve the problem for all time
ESFP: needs space to figure things out


Source: Sixteentypes. Image – Meyersbriggs.org

 

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week!

funny-gif-fall-slip-TGIF-T.G.I.F.


Source: Babyanimalpics

Lightly child, lightly

Dancer-gif


Credits:

  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
  • Image Source: Daniele Pezzela via Your Eyes Blaze Out

 

15 Minutes of Fame

space-shuttle-launch

Monday:

It’s early afternoon. There are ripples. The wind picks up during the day. There are 9,000 blog views by bed time, 8,500 views for a single post, more than 10x my Total average daily views. (Not that I’m counting.) 

I ferret out the source of traffic: Facebook. I’m unsuccessful at locating the fire starter.

Monday EOD Count: 11,000 views

Tuesday:

I wake to find my blog with 18,000 new views.  18,000 views overnight!  No caffeine required.

I sneak peaks during the day to find post views are climbing at more than 5,000 per hour. Heart? Pumping.

The site traffic is picked up by two media sources who send an email requesting my permission to share the post on their site. They ask for my photo.  Oh No. No. No. No.  I reply with thanks, but no thanks.

I go to bed, and sneak a peak at the view count. 101,000. And counting.

Tuesday EOD Count: 125,000 [Read more…]

Again this morning, in a cold wind

bridge-cables-red-Golden-Gate-Bridge

Again this morning, in a cold wind from the future, I walked all the way to the end of the long bridge of my life, having a look at its cables, its rods and rivets, its perforated metal flooring through which I could see whitecaps slamming the pylons. Then I turned and came back, inspecting it all from the other direction, fretting about every hex nut and bolt though they seem sound enough to hold things together. I ought to give the long bridge of my life a little rest, but every day it seems I’m walking from past to possibility and back to past with my brush and aluminum paint, hiding the rust, the deepening cracks, dabbing a shine here and there.

~ Ted Kooser, November. The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book


Notes:

  • Note to self: Now. 4:23 am. 21º F. Wind, cold. 13 mph from the West.
  • Credits: Photograph – peopleus.

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-hump-day


Notes:

It’s Been A Long Day

dog

Zeke and his Dad have had a long day…


Thank you Rachel.

There’s that split second moment

photography,black and white

you know when someone asks you a general question like “how are you” or jokingly says something like “do you ever even sleep” and there’s that split-second moment where you consider actually telling them things

like whether they’re good or bad things whether they’re sad or happy or anything at all you just

think about telling them

everything 

but you don’t

~ jackfrost.co


Credits: Photograph – Drowned in Daydreams. Quote Source – mirrior.

8 of 10. Bam. On point.

grief, sad,hurt

In general, highly sensitive people tend:

  1. To be more sensitive to sights, smells, sounds, tastes and smells
  2. To be philosophical and more in touch with their spirituality
  3. To feel highly uncomfortable when being observed (e.g. by a teacher, a boss, during recitals and performances etc.)
  4. To have vivid dreams which they remember in great detail
  5. To have a deep appreciation for beauty, art and nature
  6. To be good readers of others, and of non-verbal cues
  7. To experience very powerful and intense emotions
  8. To find it difficult to rebound from strong feelings and emotions
  9. To be highly empathic and sensitive to others’ feelings
  10. To be hard on themselves, and unforgiving of mistakes.

~ Online Counseling College: “Qualities of Highly Sensitive People


Credits: Quote Source: Onlinecounsellingcollege. Photograph: Maeve:: To See You Like I Do by Reuben Wilson via Preciously Me.

Weekend Reflection

calvin-hobbes


Source: Just Sayin’

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

funny-gif-horse-sleeping-tired


Source: themetapicture.com

Mur. Mur. Murmur. Magnificent.

starlings-murmuration

“Tens of thousands of starlings start their murmuration, with Criffel mountain in the background, as dusk fell last night (November 5, 2014) on the England and Scotland border near Gretna Green.”


 

Gate A-4

naomi_shihab_nye

Gate A-4 By Naomi Shihab Nye:

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well— one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,” said the flight agent. “Talk to her . What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”

I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly. “Shu-dow-a, shu-bid-uck, habibti? Stani schway, min fadlick, shu-bit-se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for major medical treatment the next day. I said, “No, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late, who is picking you up? Let’s call him.”

We called her son, I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her? This all took up two hours. [Read more…]

Sunday Morning: I’m here, where are you?


On many an occasion I’ve been camping in the Adirondacks, and one of my favorite periods is right at dusk when the lake becomes absolutely glass-like. The sun is setting but you can still see the silhouettes of trees, all these conical spires, beautiful reflection on the water for the last few bits of sunlight, and then you hear the wail of a loon. You’ll hear one individual of the pair give this long mournful wail, which is essentially saying, I’m here, where are you? Generally moments later you’ll hear the response from the other member of the pair giving its wail saying I’m over here. Loons are active at night. It can be out on a beautiful Adirondack lake after dark or a Northern Minnesota lake, and this is one of the characteristic evocative sounds you’re going to hear from that area; something that will stick with you for the rest of your life. It just punctuates the fall of night, and really sets the mood for what follows. The solitude, the peacefulness, it’s all wrapped up in that one vocalization.

~ Greg Budney, Macaulay Library Audio Curator


Source: Your Eyes Blaze Out

Woke Up To The Light


Strand of Oaks is led by singer/songwriter Timothy Showalter. Showalter, 32, was born in Indiana, and currently resides in Philadelphia. His new album HEAL was scheduled for mixing on December 26, 2013. Driving on the freeway on Christmas Day, Showalter and his wife hit a patch of black ice and crashed their car head on into a semi-truck, and were very fortunate to walk away with their lives. Showalter suffered a, “pretty severe,” head trauma, “which affected me much more than I realized at the time.” Fearing delays, Showalter, the mixing session went ahead. “Being on the verge of death, and my thoughts being so closely tied to that, changed the album’s direction,” Showalter claims. “Together, we pushed it toward a much more cathartic sound that forces the listener to where I was at that exact moment, somewhere between almost dying and being absolutely fearless.” (Learn more about the artist at Strand of Oaks)

I woke up to the light, you woke up to my hand
Reachin’ for the night we ran
If the morning comes, I will still be here
Holding all the lines of the field

Save the dawn light shine
Save the moon, save the night
And I call you by name I call you here
In the distance we will find,
Heaven lies in waiting
And keep the light on for me
Keep the light on for me

We woke up to the light, and felt no warmth behind


Find this tune and the new June, 2014 Album on iTunes: Heal

The Disease of Being Busy

omid-safi

The Disease of Being Busy by Omid Safi, recipient of the 2009 Teaching Award for Professor of the Year at Duke University:

I saw a dear friend a few days ago. I stopped by to ask her how she was doing, how her family was. She looked up, voice lowered, and just whimpered: “I’m so busy… I am so busy… have so much going on.” Almost immediately after, I ran into another friend and asked him how he was. Again, same tone, same response: “I’m just so busy… got so much to do.” The tone was exacerbated, tired, even overwhelmed.

…How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our children? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?

…In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal? What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know…

Don’t miss his entire post @ The Disease of Being Busy

or his follow-on post titled: The Thief of Intimacy, Busyness


Image Source: Duke University

 

SMWI*: Morning Jam with lil man


SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Source: Weighty Matters.

5:00 PM Bell!

formula-1-racing-gif


Source: amjayes

 

We never think about the glories of breath, oxygen cascading down our throats to the lungs

breathe-mist-breathe-black and white

All That Is Glorious Around Us
is not, for me, these grand vistas, sublime peaks, mist-filled
overlooks, towering clouds, but doing errands on a day
of driving rain, staying dry inside the silver skin of the car,
160,000 miles, still running just fine. Or later,
sitting in a café warmed by the steam
from white chicken chili, two cups of dark coffee,
watching the red and gold leaves race down the street,
confetti from autumn’s bright parade. And I think
of how my mother struggles to breathe, how few good days
she has now, how we never think about the glories
of breath, oxygen cascading down our throats to the lungs,
simple as the journey of water over a rock. It is the nature
of stone / to be satisfied / writes Mary Oliver, It is the nature
of water / to want to be somewhere else, rushing down
a rocky tor or high escarpment, the panoramic landscape
boundless behind it. But everything glorious is around
us already: black and blue graffiti shining in the rain’s
bright glaze, the small rainbows of oil on the pavement,
where the last car to park has left its mark on the glistening
street, this radiant world.

- Barbara Crooker, “All That Is Glorious Around Us” from Radiance


Notes:

T.G.I.F.: It’s Been A Long Week

vizsla-dog-pet-funny-gif


Source: gifak (*This is not our Viszla Zeke. He would have snagged this…)

What’s it gonna be today?

coin-flip-gif

Good Day. Or Bad Day.

(Who Chooses?)

Rush. Hurry. Spin. Pause.

(Who Chooses?)

Self-flagellation. Empathy. Gratitude.

(Who Chooses?)


Image Source: YourEyesBlazeOut

 

Awakening

photography,black and white

How heavy it is, this bucket
drawn out of the lake of sleep
with a dream slipping over,
so heavy that on some mornings
you can’t quite pull it free
so let it slip back under,
back into the darkness where
the water is warm, even warmer,
but the dream, like a minnow,
has swum away and is merely
a flash in the murky distance,
and the weight of waking up
seems even heavier. But somehow
you lift it again, its handle
biting into your fingers,
and haul it out and set it down
still rippling, a weighty thing
like life itself, in which you dip
the leaky cup of your hands
and drink.

~ Ted Kooser, “Awakening“, Splitting an Order.


Image Source: Michalina Wozniak

Words

sleep-dream-art
Looming and phosphorescent against the dark,
Words, always words.

— Charles Wright


Credits:

  • Image: Sleepless by Vanessa @ ésotérique
  • Poem: metaphorformetaphor from Charles Wright’s opening lines to opening lines to “Cryopexy,” The Other Side of the River (Vintage Books, 1984)

 

I don’t like Neighbor.

black and white, portrait

I was rattled.
My Fingers are on the keyboard.

“N-e-i-h-b-o-r”
Then…
“N-i-e-h-b-o-r”
Autocorrect is humming in the background but finding nothing.
Where the H*ll are you?
Red dots underscore the word and shout: “WRONG“!
I push back from my desk. I stop. I inhale.

You used to be an Automaton. Letters used to spill out, from head to fingers to screen. Letters all beautifully lined up in single file, in correct order.  It’s ok. You’re just tired. You didn’t get much sleep. You’re alright. It will be ok.  

I go at it again.
“N-i-e-b-o-r”
Red dots return.
No sign of Autocorrect.
My pulse quickens.
The cursor flashes at the end of the Word. Bing. Bing. Bing. Bing. Bing.
Red dots underscore word. Red dots. Blood platelets. Stop the bleeding.

[Read more…]

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-hump-day-wednesday


I continue to be awed by my fellow bloggers in the WordPress community. Here’s another fine example.

Uncle Spike from Uncle Spike’s Adventures was searching “Photography” tags on WordPress when he came across the photo I shared in my Veteran’s Day post (Honor).  He “Liked” my post. I noted that his Gravatar had the camel photo above and my antenna went up.  I sent him an email asking for consent to share the photograph and we traded emails. He explained that he took the photograph north of Rumuruti in Kenya in 2007 and that “he rode this Beastie for 8 hours!” 

I read his About page and was hooked.  Here’s a small morsel:

“As you sit there reading this, I’m having a bash at fruit farming in Turkey, blogging and somehow I’ve also become a proof-reader for academic papers, conference articles and post-grad theses. It’s a curious mix I’ll admit…Nowadays, I’m within sniffing distance of 50, but always very busy, constantly reinventing. Being honest, I reckon I’m pretty content with life…”

Check out more here: Uncle Spikes Adventures.

Of course, prior to this interaction, the clock was ticking for the Wednesday Hump Day post deadline.

Coincidence? Serendipity? Synchronicity?

And Bam, here comes Uncle Spike to the rescue…


Note: Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts: Let’s Hit it Again


Psych2go

sleep-insomnia-agitation


I’m not sure whether I find this tweet to be:

(a) funny, because it is true, or

(b) beneficial, (incl free therapy) because it is true, or

(c) irritating, because it is true.

It’s settled.

It’s “c”.

I’m irritated.

No.

Let me re-phrase.

I’m fully agitated.


Source: To escape from the commonplaces of existence

Honor

veteran's day

No matter what your views on war, someone’s Father, Mother or child has put or is putting their life at risk for this country, for you, for me, for our families. Today, we honor those that serve and have served.

Former Georgia Senator and Governor Zell Miller :

“For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes:

Lord, bid war’s trumpet cease;
Fold the whole earth in peace.


Image Credit: Your Grace Is Enough

 

Plant myself at the gates of Hope

woman-portrait-hair-black-and-white

I have a friend who traffics in words. She is not a minister, but a psychiatrist in the health clinic at a prestigious women’s college. We were sitting once not long after a student she had known, and counseled, committed suicide in the dormitory there. My friend, the doctor, the healer, held the loss very closely in those first few days, not unprofessionally, but deeply, fully — as you or I would have, had this been someone in our care.

At one point (with tears streaming down her face), she looked up in defiance (this is the only word for it) and spoke explicitly of her vocation, as if out of the ashes of that day she were renewing a vow or making a new covenant (and I think she was). She spoke explicitly of her vocation, and of yours and mine. She said, “You know I cannot save them. I am not here to save anybody or to save the world. All I can do — what I am called to do — is to plant myself at the gates of Hope. Sometimes they come in; sometimes they walk by. But I stand there every day and I call out till my lungs are sore with calling, and beckon and urge them in toward beautiful life and love…

There’s something for all of us there, I think. Whatever our vocation, we stand, beckoning and calling, singing and shouting, planted at the gates of Hope. This world and our people are beautiful and broken, and we are called to raise that up — to bear witness to the possibility of living with the dignity, bravery, and gladness that befits a human being. That may be what it is to “live our mission.”

~ Victoria Safford, excerpt from “The Small Work in the Great Work


Notes:


Received it with a kind of wonder, and kept it on our lips through the afternoon

woman-face-eye-black-and-white

Some of us were arriving, hungry
impatient, while others had eaten
and were leaving, bidding goodbye
to our friends, and among us
stood a pretty woman, blind,
her perfect fingers interwoven
about the top of her cane,
and she was bending forward,
open eyed, to find the knotted lips
of a man whose disfigured face
had been assembled out of scars
and who was leaving, hurrying off,
and though their kiss was brief
and askew and awkwardly pursed,
we all received it with a kind of
wonder, and kept it on our lips
through the afternoon.

~ Ted Kooser, “At Arby’s, At Noon“. Splitting an Order (Cooper Canyon Press, 2014)


Mr. Awesomeness aka Ted Kooser.  In less than 100 words, he puts you at the scene at Arby’s and makes you feel. 


Image Source: TheSensualStarfish